Dossier of Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter's travel to the Near East
During his visit to the Near East, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter met the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, and others. Switzerland has for a long time advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Talks with the Israeli government
The deepening of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Israel, the current situation in the region and Swiss contributions to support the peace process in the Near East were the main agenda items in the discussions that Mr Burkhalter held with representatives of the Israeli government.
Meeting with the Palestinian President and Prime Minister
In his talks with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, Mr Burkhalter also discussed bilateral aspects and the peace process in the Near East.
International observer mission in Hebron
During his trip, Federal Councillor Burkhalter also visited the headquarters of the Temporary International Presence (TIPH) in the City of Hebron, an international observer mission with Swiss participation which aims to promote stability in this city south of Jerusalem. The Palestinian security forces are responsible for security in part of Hebron and the Israeli security forces in another part of the city. Pursuant to the Oslo II Agreement and as a result of the murder of 29 Palestinians by a Jewish settler in 1991, the TIPH monitors both sides' compliance with security regulations. Federal Councillor Burkhalter was briefed by the Head of the TIPH mission, the Norwegian Christine Fossen, on the difficult coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians in Hebron. Three Swiss members of TIPH, also took Mr Burkhalter on a guided tour of various parts of the city where TIPH monitors the situation.
Mr Burkhalter also visited Swiss development cooperation programmes on the West Bank.
Mr Burkhalter’s journey is part of Switzerland's commitment to stability in the regions bordering on Europe. In the Near East, Switzerland advocates a two-state solution, which it continues to regard as the most appropriate means of resolving the conflict, and of guaranteeing Israel's future and that of a Palestinian state. In the framework of its activity for peace and stability and for respect for international humanitarian law, Switzerland has repeatedly called on all the parties to comply with their legal obligations and to take part in negotiations to resolve the conflict and to improve the humanitarian situation.